Thanks and Giving

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving today (at least it is in this time zone).

Many of my friends and family are gathering to share a meal, to give thanks for the blessings of the year and to be together. We generally give thanks for what we have received… But I stretched this idea out a little.

In a previous post I mentioned Girl Effect and a few other charities and causes. It got me thinking about what we give. In fact, I am thankful for being able to give some of my money to causes that matter to me. I am thankful that I the charities I support are helping others that may not have received assistance, who may otherwise have less to be thankful for.

These are a few of the charities we support and why:

  • Mat and I sponsor a child in Bangladesh through World Vision. World Vision does a pretty good job of trying to build communities and help lift entire groups out of poverty and disease. They’re not perfect, but they really seem to help, and for a company of their immense size (particularly for a NPO) they’re surprisingly adaptable, they are incredibly quick to respond to an emergency, and they touch people all over the world. I’d like to believe that we are making a difference to Nayon and his mother and maybe their whole village by providing an education to a young man who may not have had the chance before, clean water and sanitation to the village and opportunities for his mother to work and support her family.
  • I give regularly to the Fred Hollows Foundation. Why? Vision Karma. I have always had poor eyesight, and in the back of my mind there always lingers a little fear that I may one day become blind, or near enough to it. I feel compelled to help remove unnecessary blindness from the world because I can imagine how difficult life would be without vision. And I am amazed at just how affordable it is to restore eyesight. Plus their marketing campaigns totally get me right in the heart!
  • I have given to the Rainforest Rescue to save some of the Australian rainforests – but now I’m annoyed with how much paper marketing they send me! Even though it is FSC paper I somehow feel cheated. However, based on my research, they were a charity that really did put most of its money into the causes it supports.
  • I have given to the RSPCA but had to stop giving because of the number of telemarketing calls that followed gift-giving. I will try to give more anonymously in the future because clearly they are selling my phone number, and they don’t have the handy “Please put me on your do not call list” line here in Australia. I’d actually much prefer to help the animals by taking in homeless animals. Of course, if I took in every stray I came across I’m sure there’d be some sort of neighbourhood rebellion against the crazy ‘cat lady’ and her menagerie!
  • A charity here in WA that is doing great work is Second Chance Horse Rescue. Their stories of recovery are incredible! If you click on SC Trojan, you will see why what they do is so astounding and important. They act where some larger groups get caught up in red tape. They have a wide network of individuals willing to go get these horses, vet them up, feed them up, and eventually rehabilitate them for adoption. Many of those horses go on to be great companions. Sometimes they lose one or two, but more often than not, they win! I give a little when I can. I would like to do more, but don’t feel that I have enough time or space to take on an adoption, and I am far away from many of the rescues, and the travel stress would be horrible for these poor babies. But I digress… again!

Here are a few I want to do more for or learn more about:

  • I’d like to give to one or more of the charities that are helping the turtles: World Wildlife Fund and Australian Geographic are two that I am familiar with, but need to learn more about.
  • And I’d like to learn more about the Girl Effect and where it’s donations go. I’d hate to give my money to a clever marketing campaign that never gets to the person in need. It takes a lot of searching, though, to find out where your money goes.
  • Also, Matt Damon’s Water.org is a critically important cause. Afterall, not much else matters if you haven’t got water.

Sometimes I feel like I’d rather go to Africa and dig a well, or rescue a horse, or feed a hungry person, because then I’d really be doing something to help, where giving money is just ‘an easy way out of getting your hands dirty’. But giving money isn’t a cop-out. It’s supporting those who can act to act! And that’s important too! And I am so grateful and thankful that I am in a position where I can offer some support and help! (I’m thankful for many other things too, but this post is getting long enough!)

This Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?

Do you give to big charitable organisations like some of those listed? Do you give closer to home? Volunteer at a soup kitchen, shelter, RSPCA or similar?

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3 responses to “Thanks and Giving

  1. Great post, it is fantastic to be able to give from our abundance. We give monthly to ‘World Wildlife Fund’ (WWF), they do great work. We also donate to ‘Samaritans Purse’ have an – Operation Christmas Child – where you can fill a shoebox full of goodies and send it to one of their warehousse, the boxes then get sent to various countries and are distributed to children who have never had a gift before (not neccessarily for Christmas, as many children in other cultures don’t celebrate it). We are fortunate to have been involved in going to Africa to do Aid work, it is wonderful, but without people giving, many projects are unable to be done.

    Cheers

    • Sharon, thank you so much for reading and commenting! I jumped over to your site and was so impressed with what I saw! It is incredible that you have been able to spend ‘time in the trenches,’ as it were, working with, meeting, and helping the people first hand. It must be a very eye opening experience, and I can imagine it would be a life-changing experience! To be able to experience the problems people face head-on would offer so much more insight than a 30 second sound-bite in the media.
      Are you still in Africa, or are you back in Australia these days?

      • I am in Australia right now, hoping to be heading back to Sudan in January 2012. I need to be in Australia to work to save to go to Africa, I also have three adolescent children and a husband (he comes along sometimes too) to take care of.

        🙂

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